The drama that began several weeks ago with the nullification of the new Common Council’s vote for Council President and a key commission assignment ended Tuesday evening when Alderman Ken Zganjar was elected Council President.
After two votes that failed to reached the needed majority of five, a compromise suggested by Mayor Dan Abendroth and an agreement by Aldermen Zganjar, Andrew Nerbun and Pamela Adams broke the deadlock.
Comments by Zganjar and others about committee assignments prior to the vote emphasized the weight given to the Planning Commission appointment.
After two votes at 4-3 for Zganjar, Mayor Abendroth proposed that Aldermen Nerbun and Adams share the appointment. (Zganjar had previously selected Nerbun as Planning Commission representative and Adams as Alternate.) Further discussion about details ensued, but in the end both agreed and Zganjar, who had said earlier in the discussion that he would not change any assignments if elected this time around, also agreed to the joint assignment if it would break the tie. He was elected 5-2 on the third ballot. The assignment to the Planning Commission was approved as agreed to, and other assignments were left unchanged.
Appointments made by the Mayor to the various boards and commissions were approved and can be viewed here on pages 3 and 4 of the agenda.
The election for the vacant District 1 seat is expected to occur at the June 11 meeting.
During the past week, Mequon residents have likely received a survey asking their opinions on a variety of issues. Mequon residents, PLEASE COMPLETE AND RETURN THE SURVEY BY MAY 24! As noted on the front page, if there is a difference of opinion among the adults in your household, additional copies of the survey can be obtained at City Hall.
Why is this important? Past surveys have had a significant influence on policies adopted by the Common Council. Some aldermen and mayors have used survey results as a basis to support or oppose various policy proposals over the years, and may decisions have been driven by survey results. It is important that your voice be heard so that decisions being made reflect your input.
Whether you are a fan of surveys or not, please take the time to complete this one. There are visual aids (maps) to help inform your decisions, and this survey includes background information on most of the questions so respondents can answer with some context surrounding the questions.
Be sure to remind your friends and neighbors!
Mequon City Attorney John DeStefanis nullifed the April 16 election of Ken Zganjar as Council President as well as the nomination of Alderman Andrew Nerbun as the Common Council’s representative to the Planning Commission.
In a lengthy memo April 25, DeStefanis explained the distinction between a simple majority, which was achieved in the original election, and the statutory requirements for election of the Council President. Mequon Ordinance 2-64 in part states that “a majority of all members of the council,” which would include the mayor, must be achieved for the election of the Council President. Zganjar was elected by a 4-2 majority (Alderman Dale Mayr was absent). The entire council (which per statute includes the mayor) now stands at eight with the District 1 vacancy; therefore, a majority is five votes.
DeStefanis also referenced a part of the municipal code that specifically addresses nomination of a Council representative to the Planning Commission. That nomination must be made by the Council President; as Zganjar was not elected, his nomination of Nerbun is also null and void. All the other nominations can stand, however, as they can be made by any alderman, and were approved by a 5-1 margin.
The Common Council is next scheduled to meet on May 14 when it is expected to re-vote on the Common Council President and Planning Commission positions.
The newest in a series of video stories about student opportunities in MTSD is available for viewing. Episode III of “Inside MTSD,” hosted by Superintendent Demond Means, explores the Adaptive Phys Ed program at HHS, a unique program that makes a difference for students with special needs while offering an exceptional opportunity to other students who work with them. This episode also includes an update on security in the District.
Congratulations to Lake Shore Middle School teacher Amy Olson, winner of a Herb Kohl Education Foundation Fellowship Award! Ms. Olson is one of only 100 winners statewide. She receives a fellowship award of $1000, and an additional $1000 is made available to her school for use in innovative education projects.
The MTSD Board of Education voted unanimously to spend an additional $313,000 to complete the security upgrades which had been approved at the March business meeting. At its April meeting, the Board learned that the estimate for the project, which would encompass simultaneous improvements at five schools, had been significantly understated. After discussion about alternatives and the financial impact, the Board voted to proceed with the improvements as originally planned. The cost difference will be made up by a combination of funds from the Buildings and Grounds budget and using additional funds from the Fund Balance.
Despite higher “cut” scores on the WKCE (Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam) test, MTSD students again scored extremely well on these annual standardized tests given to students in grades 3-8 and 10 last Fall.
This year, overall scores surpassed the state average by 27.3 percentage points in reading and 30.4 percentage points in math. At the local level, reading scores in grades 4, 8 and 10 surpassed those of other local districts.
A chart comparing MTSD to districts in Milwaukee, Ozaukee and Waukesha counties is on the attached press release. To see the details, click here. Full results can be viewed by clicking here.
Since being elected April 2 to the positions of Mayor of Mequon and District 1 Alderman, Dan Abenbroth as expected gave up the District 1 seat. The City of Mequon has released details for those who are interested in applying for the position. (see below). The position will only be a one year appointment: the successful candidate will have to run in April 2014 to complete the balance of the term, which will run through 2016.
Applicants must be 18 years of age or over, qualified electors of the city, and residents of Aldermanic District One. Interested residents should submit a current resume and letter of interest in serving as Alderperson District One that is no longer than two pages, double-spaced.
Letters and resumes must be submitted by 4:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 14, 2013 to: Lee Szymborski, City Administrator/City Clerk, City of Mequon, 11333 N. Cedarburg Road, Mequon, WI 53092.
Personal interviews will be scheduled at Mequon City Hall at a date to be determined, sometime in the period between May 28-June 7, 2013. Applicants will be notified of this date as well as the anticipated appointment date. Applicants are further advised that all interviews will be conducted pursuant to the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law.
Although final totals need to be verified in the next two days, it appears election results are as follows:
Dan Abendroth defeats Curt Gielow by a margin of less than 100 votes for mayor of Mequon.
Abendroth defeats Robert Strzelczyk in the District 1 Aldermanic race.
John Leszczynski defeats Jeffrey Hansher in the District 4 Aldermanic race.
Kathryn Houpt and Mary Cyrier have won seats on the Mequon-Thiensville Board of Education, defeating Alex Leykin.
In other races, Judge Tom Wolfgram lost in his bid to continue as Ozaukee County Circuit Judge to Joe Voiland, and Supreme Court Justice Patience Roggensack defeated challenger Edward Fallone.
Thanks to ALL the candidates who have dedicated their time to the campaign and for their willingness to serve!
Another Wisconsin election cycles comes to a close. As you contemplate casting your vote tomorrow, consider the following:
- None of the local positions up for election have ultimate authority. Their success relies on working with other people, sharing a vision and coming to consensus. Which candidates will work best with others to achieve common goals for all?
- Why is each person running for office? A particular issue is often a catalyst to engage someone in the political process, but at the end of the day, all these candidates will need to make decisions on a wide range of issues. Consider your opinion of how a candidate might respond to an issue that isn’t one of the top headline-getters in the campaign.
- While taxes are a huge issue at the federal level, the State of Wisconsin has put severe restrictions on municipalities and school districts when it comes to raising taxes. There are very specific mechanisms relating to property value (and in the case of the school district, enrollment) that set maximum tax levies for the local taxing districts–and our governor is very committed to not increasing property taxes, so those rates aren’t increasing. The referendum is essentially the only way a community can raise taxes. None of the candidates has the ability, as an individual, to raise taxes.
- Finally, voters should expect a person to represent them with integrity and honesty. Represent is the operative word here…which candidates will have an open mind to what others think?
Thanks to all the candidates for their willingness to run for office. Elected positions are a lot of work, especially at this time when there are so many challenges facing our cities, schools, states and federal government. Honor their commitment by taking the time to vote, and remind your friends.
How does a community wrap its arms around challenging topics like gun violence, redistricting, judicial elections and natural resources? The League of Women Voters, Ozaukee County and MATC have joined forces to present a session to offer a framework for improving dialogue about these important issues and a chance to weigh in. The session is Friday April 5 from 7:30am to 11:30am at MATC. Click here to learn more and for registration information.
MTSD launched a new video series to introduce community members, prospective families and others to some of the district initiatives and little-known programs running in the district. The first of these is now on the district website, and these 10-12 minute videos will be updated on a regular basis.
|Inside MTSD 101
Check out the video to learn how the AVID program is dramatically changing the high school experience for some students, and about a favorite unit in the Lifetime Sports curriculum–curling!
When you look at your ballot on April 2, you may notice several things:
- Order of names on the ballot. Names are drawn in random order to determine their placement on the ballot.
- Incumbent or not? State law prohibits identification of candidates as incumbents.
- Political party designation: The School Board is a non-partisan election. As such, candidates are NOT identified by any political affiliation. Therefore, please be aware that the “R” after the name of candidate Alex Leykin has nothing to do with political affiliation. InformMT asked Mr. Leykin to explain the “R” and this is what he shared with us: “It represents a nickname I was going to use to be more memorable at the poll. That was before I knew both of the other candidates are female. The nickname is no longer needed to identify me, I’m the only man running, which turned out to be the easiest thing to remember for my supporters.”